Every day is a day that you can perform mitzvah. To jump start newcomers’ interest in volunteerism and tikkun olam, in 1996, Rodeph Sholom started Mitzvah Weekend, a weekend generally held each fall that emphasizes our spiritual connection to tikkun olam and our practical connection with community actions.
In 2016, we celebrated our 175th anniversary as a shul, and part of that was celebrating that even at our very first meeting on October 16th, 1842, part of the discussion was how to set up ways to aid those in need. Our history of helping ranges from the Sisterhood Sewing Society in the early 1900s to helping immigrants and refugees during the Second World War, we have always
been deeply involved in repairing the world and helping our community. Please see our history page for more details.
In 2016, we worked to make our Mitzvah Weekend extra special. On Friday, November 11th, we had a special Erev Shabbat that featured Ambassador Rabbi David N. Saperstein, speaking on issues of social justice facing us today. Rabbi David N. Saperstein, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, is an advisor to President Obama, and he is the United States’ chief diplomat on issues of religious freedom worldwide. Ambassador Saperstein was Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC), and served Congregation Rodeph Sholom from 1971–1974.
On Saturday, November 12th, we had a special Interfaith Havdalah. Imam Shamsi Ali (Director of Jamaica Muslim Center) and Mother Carla (Rector of The Church of St. Matthew & St. Timothy), and members of their communities, joined our clergy and congregants in a service of song and prayers and worked on mitzvah projects that will aid refugees worldwide.
Sunday, November 13th, we had an entire day of mitzvah where hundreds of congregants did many onsite and offsite projects to help those in need. The list of results is in andwe are excited to share everything we accomplished that weekend.
- Over 35 project leaders running 24 projects at CRS and out in the community
- More than 650 volunteer participants
- 71 pints of blood collected for the New York Blood Center
- 1300 lunches packed and delivered to the homeless
- Over 70 adults and children cheered up seniors at Jewish Home Lifecare including Room to Room Singing, a Talent Show, and 12 dogs participating in the Pet Visit
- Alongside about 15 JHLC Seniors, we packed 80 “Soup in a Jar” that will be delivered to food-insecure people in NY
- Put together 50 Birthday Bags for kids, distributed by Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger
- Sorted many many bags of clothing to be delivered to various charities
- Held a Fall Party for underprivileged kids at Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center
- About 30 people helped spruce up the islands on Riverside Drive through the Riverside Park Conservancy
- Assembled 50 Treat Pots to cheer up seniors and others
- Recycled about 50 men’s ties into Eyeglass Pouches for seniors at Jewish Home Lifecare
- CRuSTY kids participated in a Breakfast Run, providing breakfast and clothing to the homeless
- Prepared and served meals at St. Xavier Soup Kitchen
- Wrote 250 holiday cards to be sent to soldiers in the US Armed Forces
vered 80 meals to the elderly with City Meals-on-Wheels
- Stocked the pantry and made sandwiches at New York Common Pantry
- Created sustainable feminine hygiene kits with Days for Girls, sponsored by Sisterhood
- Spent time with teens at Bellevue Hospital, led by Tribe
- Baked 10 dozen cookies to be sent to Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center for after-school snack
- Created 70 fleece hats for children, to be distributed by Afya Foundation
- Made heating pads to be used by skaters at Figure Skating in Harlem
- Provided Healthcare Advocacy guidance
- Gave tours of the CRS Men’s Shelter and promoted E-Advocacy
- Created 300 Hygiene Kits for World Church Services
- Sorted 3 pallets of medical supplies to be sent to refugees in Lesvos, Greece through the Afya Foundation
Many thanks, everyone.